In an offseason that has remained quiet, perhaps a little too quiet, the college football world was rocked late Saturday night. Notre Dame starting quarterback Everett Golson’s future at the school is now in serious doubt.
Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune reported that Golson, who led the Irish to the BCS National Championship Game in his first year as a starter, is no longer enrolled at the school:
Golson no longer is enrolled at Notre Dame for what two sources told the Tribune was an academic violation. The school officially confirmed Golson is no longer a student but offered no more details, including when or if the player who started 11 games last season can return.
But the belief is Golson is gone for 2013, potentially undoing everything coach Brian Kelly and his staff had done to secure the position for seasons to come.
This could mean a handful of things regarding his future, although his prospects for the upcoming season don’t seem favorable. Making a unique situation that much more difficult to grasp, as Keith Arnold of NBCsports.com points out, “Federal and university privacy laws have kept anybody from confirming anything more.”
Translation: We don’t know much, and it’s probably going to stay that way.
At the moment, though, it would appear likely that Notre Dame will be without Golson when it suits up against Temple on August 31. If that’s the case, it would leave an Irish offense already jam-packed with new faces in 2013 with its biggest hole yet.
More importantly, however, it creates an interesting (and potentially difficult) scenario for one of the nation’s true up-and-coming talents. And make no mistake about it, that’s exactly what Golson is.
First, it seems necessary to point out there are indeed more important things than college football. It’s a necessary and appropriate disclaimer for something that’s easy to lose track of, especially given the ravenous nature of the news cycle.
With details still limited, and likely to stay that way, the ultimate hope is that Golson sorts out whatever he is currently going through. Whether he does this at Notre Dame now, Notre Dame in the future or a completely different venue altogether remains to be seen. But this is what matters most.
From a football perspective, however, it’s both surprising and disheartening.
While inconsistent at times in 2012, he was without question one of the brightest young quarterbacks in the game. His tools are incredible, his potential off the charts, his arm perhaps the best in the game. Mistakes surfaced in his lone year as a starter, although he made tremendous strides while playing as a redshirt freshman. Let us not forget that he was just a redshirt freshman.
The situation was also ideal for a young quarterback looking to build on a tremendous foundation. Although there are plenty of new faces on offense, Kelly has stockpiled this roster with talent on both the offensive and defensive sides.
While many feel the Irish won’t be able to match the results from a year ago, a championship run over the next few seasons certainly wasn’t (and isn’t) out of the question. The possibility of a Heisman has been discussed somewhat casually, but the possibility was real.
At least it was. For now, however, it is on hold. It’s by no means a permanent development, but the conversation is suddenly much different.
Notre Dame isn’t going away, with or without Golson, although his presence generated optimism for a team coming closer and closer to its former powerful self—so much so that it caused Gunner Kiel, the team’s top quarterback recruit from a year ago, to transfer to Cincinnati just a few months ago.
There’s also a possibility that Kiel could transfer back to Notre Dame (albeit an unlikely one) and play right away.
The offseason works in mysterious ways.
Regardless of how a fluid situation unfolds, the hope is that Golson lands on his feet somewhere that fits his academic and football needs. Everett the student and 20-year-old should come before Everett the gifted quarterback with unlimited potential.
For now, however, it would seem this unlimited potential will remain just that.
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